Education foundation unveils 4 new goals


Tony Flach, president of the Education Foundation for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools.


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Buying more tablet computers for students and bolstering elementary students' reading skills are among the new goals of the nonprofit that raises private funding for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools.

ECPPS Education Foundation President Tony Flach presented the nonprofit's new goals during its annual meeting Saturday.

He explained the foundation has seen a lot of changes recently, including eliminating its paid director's position in March and bringing on new members. That's led the foundation to reflect on “what do we want this foundation to be as we move well into our next quarter century,” and how to best support ECPPS and its 5,600-plus students.

After consulting with ECPPS Superintendent Larry Cartner, the Education Foundation has set four overarching goals, Flach said.

The first goal is “Personalized Learning,” meaning better addressing individual student needs. Flach cited the foundation's support of the ECP Backpacks program as one example. The program is a partnership of churches and other organizations who pay to send food home with students on Fridays to make sure they eat well over the weekend. ECP Backpacks currently serves 271 students, he said.

Additionally, the foundation will support personalized learning by helping ECPPS purchase more Chromebook tablet computers for students' classroom use, Flach said. The foundation will look to buy Chromebooks a few at a time and in step with the district's plan to roll them out throughout most grades. Based on past reports from school officials, Chromebooks are available for the third, fourth, seventh and eighth grades, plus high school English and science.

The second goal is “College and Career Readiness.” Flach said the foundation will help expand the Advancement Via Individual Determination program to more schools; a foundation release said the program teaches organizational skills, good learning habits, and helps students plan their education beyond high school.

AVID staffer Kim Whitehurst said there will be a district-wide fundraiser for AVID in February. The fundraiser will help support students’ college visits and tutors, she said.

The third goal is “Early Literacy.” Flach said the foundation wants to provide “high-interest books” to more students, encouraging a love of reading and strengthening a skill fundamental to lifelong learning. A foundation report notes it has donated funds for “reading intervention for a limited number of children” in the past, but will work now to broaden that effort.

Asked if the district's schools have book clubs, Flach said some do and some don't. The responsibility for starting them has fallen to teachers, he noted.

To underscore the importance of childhood literacy, Flach also commented, “There are actually folks in Raleigh who build prisons based on the number of students not reading on grade level by the end of third grade.”

The fourth goal is “Large Project Fundraising.” Flach said the foundation will work with businesses and philanthropists to fund high-impact projects that ECPPS's state and local funding can't cover. Flach said foundation member Doug Gardner is working with Cartner and potential donors to identify potential projects.

Without an executive director, the foundation will continue to rely on board members to come up with projects that further the nonprofit’s goals, Flach said.